The Cards

We've recently looked at the NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS and its architecture. To recap, the 7900 GS has identical clock speeds to the 7900 GT, but with one less vertex pipeline and four fewer pixel pipelines. NVIDIA intends for it to be a direct competitor to ATI's X1900 GT, but at reference speeds the 7900 GS doesn't quite perform as high as the X1900 GT. Overclocking may improve the situation somewhat as we'll see in the next section.

Here is a breakdown of the 7900 GS cards we have for this review along with their clock speeds and prices:

GeForce 7900 GS Clock Speeds and Pricing
Manufacturer and Card Factory Clock Price
Albatron GeForce 7900 GS 450/660 *$200-$250
XFX GeForce 7900 GS RoHS Extreme 480/700 $211
EVGA e-GeForce 7900 GS 500/690 $216
Leadtek Winfast PX7900 GS TDH Extreme 520/700 *$220
BFG GeForce 7900 GS OC 540/660 $200

As sometimes happens, we weren't able to get prices for all of these cards at the time of this writing. The Albatron 7900 GS and the Leadtek PX7900 GS TDH Extreme are not yet available, but we've included the target street prices (marked by an asterisk) for these cards. The 7900 GS was predicted to retail at around $200, and just a few weeks after its release prices reflect this. We can't predict what the market will do, but hopefully prices for the 7900 GS will drop some in the coming months.

It's interesting that the 7900 GS card in this roundup that has the highest factory overclock is also (currently) the least expensive, and right away makes the BFG model stand out. We'll look at performance in a moment, but first let's take a closer look at the individual cards.

Index Albatron
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  • sum1 - Friday, September 22, 2006 - link


    The BFG 7900 GS OC's core clock is set at 520MHz, a 70MHz increase over the standard NVIDIA 7900 GS
    It’s listed at 540MHz everywhere else in this article (including the benchmarks).

    I posted this discrepancy twice, days ago, hasn’t anyone else noticed yet?
  • Josh Venning - Saturday, September 23, 2006 - link

    It's been fixed. Thanks for pointing this out, and we apologize for not fixing it sooner.
  • PerfectCr - Thursday, September 21, 2006 - link

    Fan Noise? How do I know how loud/quiet the fans are? Do they throttle?
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - link

    Its interesting how the XFX card (the only RoHS card - uses less lead and other hazardous chemicals) uses more power. I wonder if this will be true of other RoHS devices.
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, September 20, 2006 - link

    I can tell you that the motherbord I use, which is also RoHS 'certified' (Asrock AM2NF4G-SATA2) runs pretty dahmed cool (sub 95F, when ambient is 80F ish), doesnt even use active cooling for the chipset etc either. Reguardless, if its the actual cause or not, I think its well worth it in the long run.
  • Zaitsev - Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - link

    On page 3 third line, "NVIDIDA intends for it to be a direct competitor to ATI's X1900 GT"

  • Zaitsev - Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - link

    Sorry, that should be page 2.
  • Josh Venning - Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - link

    fixed, thanks
  • Howard - Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - link

    I believe the bar is there to reduce PCB bending under weight.
  • DerekWilson - Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - link

    It's possible I suppose ... but it seems to me that you'd want to attatch the bar to the pcb at more than two points if this is the case. And you might also want to connect it to the slot cover for the added support of the case screw. Granted, I'm not a mechanical engineer, but it seems to me that connecting one part of the pcb to another like this would just move any moment created by the weight of the HSF somewhere else on the pcb.

    I've also never seen a graphics board bend under normal use. Intel motherboards are another story though. :-)

    Whether or not its made for this, I do have a good use for it: having this bar makes it easier to find a place to grab when removing the card. Sometimes it's tough to find a spot on the pcb to grab, and sometimes the HSF solution isn't mounted in such a way that it's stable enough to use either (I distinctly remember the 6600 GT really disliking any contact with the HSF). This doesn't apply to the huge heat-sink-is-bigger-than-my-forearm solutions though -- they're usually bolted on pretty tight.

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